Cyberspace and Old Iron

Dan Rotigel

Picture # 1: from left, Bill Tremel III, Bill Tremel Jr., Dan Rotigel, Jim O'Bara, DJ Rotigel, John Nicole, Matt Picaro, Charlie Bryant, Jim Noack and Ed Roberts.

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RD #4, Box 143 Greensburg, Pennsylvania 15601

For most of us who love, collect and restore 'old iron,' computers and 'cyberspace' are about the furthest things from our minds when we are devoting time to our toys. For a small group of us, however, our computer and the Internet are among the first things we think of when we confront a problem with restoration, discover a treasure in an old barn, or think about attending a show for the first time.

Lots of people are familiar with the term 'Internet.' Within the past several years two very interesting list serves have appeared out there in cyberspace. (For those of you as ignorant about 'the Net' as I was until recently, a 'list serve' is a mailing list on a computer that you can write (i.e. post) to, and receive electronic mail (i.e. posts) from. What you write can be read by everyone on the list and in turn you are able to read whatever any other list member 'posts' to the list.) One of these lists is devoted to stationary engines, the other to antique farm tractors.

In May of 1996, Charlie Bryant (one of the more active and knowledgeable guys on the stationary engine list) and I discussed, on the list, attending the Cool spring Show on June 14-16, 1996. Others on the list, after reading our posts, indicated that they also might attend the show. At that point Charlie and I decided that a Cool spring Engine List 'get together' was called for, so we started making our plans.

As planning continued, more and more of the folks on the list indicated that they would be attending the Cool spring Show. It was decided that we would meet at my 9 HP Gallowayan engine that I had purchased over the Internet in April from Joe Kelley in Maine but that's another story! In all, 18 guys from the stationary engine list showed up at the show. Many are shown in picture #1. (Among those who were there, but are not pictured, were Harry Matthews and his wife Jeannie, and Craig Prucha.)

4.Tractor and engine guys: from left, Brice Adams,. Jeff Smith, Jim Thomson, Steve Offiler, Jim Poole, Charlie Bryant, Jim O'Bara, Barry Gunn, Dan Rotigel, Dave Rotigel. Second row: George Wilier, Dale Arnold, Marshall Heckman, Steve Simpson, Herbert Metz, Andy Lowry, Spencer Yost (on tractor on the right), Steve Sewell (on tractor in back), Hank Wessel (on JD in middle), Dean Vinson (behind Hank's JD in desert hat).

Our success in getting together at Cool spring provided a springboard to a bigger get together at the Portland Show in August. This time, members of the Tractor List (some of whom subscribed to the Stationary Engine List as well) decided to join the fun. As plans evolved, more and more individuals indicated that they would be at the Portland Show. In all over 40 guys and gals from the two lists attended the show. Pictures 2, 3 and 4 show some of us who were there.

Cool spring and Portland were even more fun than usual this past year because of the new friendships made possible by cyberspace. The two mail lists, however, also provide a more practical day to day benefit to subscribers. Discussions on the lists include such things as removing 'stuck' pistons, restoration techniques, the dating of engines, paint colors, and approximate value of old iron and/or parts. Additionally, many list members maintain their own home page (which can provide for a sort of engine show or tractor show on your computer screen) and several have sections devoted to 'For Sale/Wanted' on their home page. Thus far I have both purchased and sold engines and related items through contacts I have made on these two cyber lists! Now for the good parti.e. how do you subscribe to these lists and take part in the fun and knowledge that can be gained from them? To subscribe to the Stationary Engine List: Send e-mail to:
Leave the SUBJECT field blank.
The message BODY should say:
subscribe stationary-engine
No signature file attached.

You will receive an e-mail note with a confirmation of your subscription. This list is maintained by Brice Adams ( at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

To subscribe to the Antique Tractor List:

Send e-mail to:
Leave the SUBJECT field blank.
The message BODY should say:
subscribe No signature file attached.

You will receive an e-mail note with a confirmation of your subscription. This list is maintained by Spencer Yost ( at Forsyth County, NC. Spencer also maintains an Internet Home Page for the Antique Tractor Group located at TRACTOR/atis.html

A second Home Page of interest to those of us who are more involved with stationary engines than tractors has been created by Harry Matthews. Containing more than six megabytes of material, Harry's Home, Page covers many topics ranging from what I believe to be the best ignition/magneto information to be found in any one place, to a very active Buy/Sell section. Recently honored by Lycos' Point as a 'Top 5% Site,' Harry's OLD ENGINE Home Page can be found at -matthews/

So don't wait. Subscribe to either, or both, of these list serves today. You will enjoy and learn from these listsand it's free! And don't worry about what you have missed in the past. Paul Pavlinovich at in Australia maintains an archive of past posts to the Stationary Engine List. It can be accessed by topic. So if you want to find out what has been said about a 4 HP Domestic or a 1.5 HP John Deere (just like the one you have just located and purchased) give Paul's archive a try! A similar archive for the Tractor List serve can be found on the home page for the Tractor Group.

Stemgas Publishing Company is also on the 'Net.' They can be found at

Anyone wishing to contact either of us by e-mail can do so. We can be reached at or